I needed water.
I needed water.
I needed water.
It was getting dark.
I was no longer drunk and this was a very bad thing. Clarity sliced into my brain along with the merciless knife blades of my colossal hangover. I was severely dehydrated and suffering from a savage case of the DTs.
I managed to stand up and it was a good thing there was nothing in my stomach or it would’ve come hurling out. As it was, I managed to stumble down the small staircase and into the galley. There must have been some emergency provisions somewhere. There had to be.
And there, on a shelf in the small kitchen: my salvation. Twelve wrapped bottles of springwater. I ripped the packaging open and started guzzling that warm liquid like the lifeblood that it was, barely coming up for breath until I’d drunk four.
There was canned food there, too, and a goddamn can opener. Lucky, you fucking beauty.
Now that I was no longer drunk, I was ravenous. When’s the last time I fucking ate something? I couldn’t remember. I didn’t even look at the labels. I ate a couple cans of what turned out to be fruit salad, then gorged my way through three cans of instant stew, or something. I didn’t bother to heat it, just ate it from the can with a spoon.
I even found some aspirin.
And I made up my mind.
I was going after her. Fuck boundaries. Fuck everything. What had I done that was so bad, anyway? Knocked someone up, yes. Unintentionally. Before I’d met her. What was I supposed to have done, predicted that she would walk into my life? Like a goddamn psychic or something? It wasn’t my fault Shawna sabotaged me. I’d explained to Lila how I felt about her. I’d explained how I felt about both of them and how things had panned out with the failed relationship. Then the job interview revelation. The lust. The love.
So what? So what if Shawna was pregnant? It didn’t mean Lila and I couldn’t be together. It didn’t! I should never have listened to Lila, there at the altar. I should never have let her walk away, pleads and demands or not. We’d all been a little overcome by the news, that’s all. Now it was time to work through it and work it the fuck out. Because I couldn’t live without her. I didn’t fucking want to live without her. Why should I have to? I could be a father to my child and still be a husband to the woman I loved, even if the two weren’t connected. People did that shit all the time! Why hadn’t I thought of all this before?
Because I’d been too drunk to process anything, possibly.
Well, I wasn’t drunk now. I had one bitch of a hangover but the aspirin was helping. My hands were shaking but I kept drinking the water.
I checked my pockets for my phone, but found nothing. Where the fuck did I put that thing? Maybe I’d left it at the house. Maybe it was still in the pocket of my tux.
I pulled up the anchor and headed in the direction I needed to go.
By the time I reached the dock, it was midnight. The night was clear and a billion stars were out.
The house, as I walked into it, looked different. Damn, that nosy housekeeper. I’d told her to stay away. The last thing I needed was a witness at my goddamn meltdown.
But then I saw something. A navy hooded sweatshirt, lying across the arm of the couch. It didn’t look like the kind of thing my housekeeper would wear. She’s grandmotherly, on the heavy side, if I recall correctly.
I picked up that sweatshirt. I knew. I held it to my face and inhaled. I almost swooned from the scent of it. Of her.
She was here.
I went up the stairs.
More of her clothes were draped over a chair. All of her clothes.
A small, still form, in the bed, curled under the covers.
Her hair, spilling out, catching the moonlight in an iridescent glimmering glow.
Very gently, I peeled back the covers.
Oh, holy hell.
She woke, her eyes round. Relieved beyond belief. So full of love I could only stare.
“Alexander,” she whispered, the sound of her voice slaying me.
She opened her arms to me.